Leann and I both LOVE author Wendy Speake's books on fasting. This Lent I fasted from social media while reading "The 40-Day Social Media Fast" while Leann was fasting from sugar and reading "The 40-Day Sugar Fast".
We reached out to Wendy to find our a bit more about her books.
What led you to write The 40-Day Social Media Fast?
I wasn’t raised in a fasting home or a fasting church, so the fact that I have fallen in love with this spiritual discipline has taken me by surprise. Back in college I sensed God calling me to lead a Bible study in my dorm room geared toward nonbelievers. I felt so ill-equipped for the task. That was when I was inspired to fast for the first time. So, I went without food that day, relying entirely on the Lord to get me through. And get me through He did! Not only did I sense His sustaining power during the day, it was obvious that He was leading the Bible study that night. So, I continued fasting from food on Tuesdays during my Freshman year. However, almost 25 years would pass until I felt led to fast again. Seven years ago I was leading another group, this time a Facebook Group for moms who struggle with anger. One day I asked (rather off the cuff), “What would happen if we gave up sugar for 40 Days?” At first I didn’t realize I was suggesting that we do a spiritual fast. My initial intention was to consider the way sugar was wrecking us physically — causing us to struggle mentally, emotionally, and even relationally. But within those first 40 days, I quickly realized that this was more than a physical detox, it truly was a spiritual fast. Instead of turning from sugar high to sugar high to get us through our days, we began turning to The Most High. Since then I have hosted an annual 40-Day Sugar Fast every January. In November 2019 we released The 40-Day Sugar Fast book to help people journey through the fast any time of the year. It was last year during Lent that I realized what an incredible resource it is for those who would like to give something up for the Lenten season. Sugar is a wonderful thing to lay down in order to experience the sweetness of our Savior. However, sugar isn’t the only thing we turn to in lieu of turning to Christ. Each year that I host the sugar fast I remind my fasting-friends that God never called us to a “Sugar Sacrifice” but to see ourselves as a Living Sacrifice. And so I ask them what else they are running to instead of running hard after Him. And thousands of women and men quickly respond in chorus, “MY PHONE…my screens…social media.” Even more than sugar, many of us are finding that we self-medicate our loneliness, our boredom, and our stress away with mindless scrolling online. And so, that’s how this fasting journey led me to write The 40-Day Social Media Fast. Not long afterward, I also released The 40-Day Fast Journal which can be used for either of these fasts or any fast at all.
When you fast from social media, what changes do you see?
Look Up! We spend so much of our times bowed over our phones — bowed down but not in prayer. When I fast from all the apps on my phone and all the virtual rabbit holes on my laptop I immediately enjoy looking up. And the benefits are many! When I look up, my body feels better. I’m not struggling with achey tech-neck, and I’m sleeping better, too. Without the stimulating screens stimulating my mind late into the night, I go to bed early and sleep better. When I look up, I see the real-life people right in front of me. My husband and my children, first and foremost. And everyone’s behavior in my home starts to shift. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that they have my undivided attention. Since they have my attention, they don’t have to do something negative to get my attention. This is especially true for those raising younger children. Negative attention is still attention. When I look up, I also notice my neighbors, my work colleagues, even strangers. There are so many gospel interactions available for us when we put our phones away and encounter the flesh-and-blood people in our path each day. When we put our phones down it’s easier to look up! When I look up, I see the sky and I see the mountains. I see God’s glory and His strength on display. I see my real leather-bound Bible, full of notes and dates and memories. I see opportunities to sit with God, that allow me to hear from God. When my eyes are cast down, my ears are full of the online chatter. But when I look up I seem to hear His voice clearer.
Experience the power of fasting for yourself! Check out either of Wendy's books (links below) to turn to God rather than food or your phone!